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Children of Promise: African-American Literature and Art for Young People

Selected as one of the Best Books of the Year. “A basic text for home, for school, in our land in which all peoples must become as one.” –L.A. Parent Magazine

“An immersion into art and literature by and about Black Americans... Serves as an interesting educational tool for every member of the family.” –Ebony

“The most important book of the decade.” –Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Around Town, WETA-TV, Washington, DC

“This presentation of literature and art for young people is elegant, appealing, rich, and dramatic with moments from African-American history. Its contents touch all periods from slavery to the present. It claims 100 poems, folk songs, and other literary excerpts that accompany more than 80 historical photographs and reproductions of paintings and sculptures. While the index is not inclusive, this is an aesthetically gratifying book that deserves wide distribution.” –School Library Journal

“One of the most beautiful volumes, and certainly the first of its kind.” –Boston Sunday Globe

“Without dodging the uncomfortable aspects (the brutal details of slavery, persistent stereotypes like the cork-faced minstrel and the ubiquitous ‘happy’ banjo man) Sullivan shades a historical portrait that can’t be ignored. The struggle becomes more than clear--it becomes emotionally tangible.” –LA Weekly

“A treasury of vivid memories, a celebration of strength, achievement, pride in past, and faith in the future.” –The Links Newsletter

“Stunning artwork and classics of African-American poetry, as well as newer writing, make this collection one for all ages. Highly recommended for school and public libraries for its literary and artistic value, as well as for its historical framework.” –Multicultural Review

“The work of more than 60 writers, poets, painters, photographers and historical figures forms this richly diverse and well-chosen introduction to African American culture. Accompanying a loose chronology of political milestones from the colonial era to the present are songs of the field and chain gang, a Benin bronze and folk sculpture and more. Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois and Jacob Lawrence shine brightly here, as do paintings by John Copley, George Bellows and Thomas Eakins, representing a sympathetic white viewpoint. Captions for the old photographs attest to hope prevailing in bad times, but ultimately the pride inherent in Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and Florence Griffith Joyner's Olympic medals succumbs to frequent hints that matters are worsening for many of today's African Americans. Concluding this lovingly produced volume, Gwendolyn Brooks's poem, ‘To the Young Who Want to Die’ becomes a moving plea to live for a brighter day. All ages.” –Publishers Weekly

Selected by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books for Young Adults.

Children of Promise includes poetry and prose by James Baldwin, Benjamin Banneker, Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Arna Bontemps, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Danner, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Bob Dylan, Mari Evans, Lorraine Hansberry, Frances E.W. Harper, Robert Hayden, Julia Ward Howe, Langston Hughes, Thomas Jefferson, James Weldon Johnson, Absalom Jones, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Dudley Randall, Harry S. Truman, Mark Twain, Margaret Walker, Booker T. Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, and others.

Paintings, drawings, photographs, and other works of art by John Henry Adams, Jr., Romare Bearden, Thomas Hart Benton, John Singleton Copley, Edgar Degas, Thomas Eakins, Amos Ferguson, Charles Dana Gibson, Palmer Hayden, John Husselius, Winslow Homer, Nathaniel Jocelyn, Eastman Johnson, Sargent Claude Johnson, William H. Johnson, James Karales, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jacob Lawrence, Russell Lee, William Sidney Mount, Raphaelle Peale, Horace Pippin, Maurice Prendergast, Betsy Graves Reyneau, Arthur Rothstein, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Ben Shahn, Alfred Stieglitz, Henry Ossawa Tanner, John Trumbull, Richard Yarde, and others.